• Turning assault into a “harmless prank”— teenage perspectives on happy slapping

      Palasinski, Marek; University of Derby (Sage, 2013-05-01)
      The article describes the ways in which 41 adolescents from three large English cities discussed the phenomenon of happy slapping, which is typically defined as recording a physical assault on an unsuspecting victim on a cameraenabled phone for Internet upload. Using discourse analysis, the construal of motivations for its creation and watching is explored, elaborating on social, cultural, and legal implications. The identified repertoires (creation of comedy, denial of grievous bodily harm, accomplice-witness ambiguity, and reflection of postmodern culture) caution against attributing happy slapping just to boredom, as the mainstream British press does and puts spotlight on other factors, like seeking originality and keeping “pranks” under control. Concluding with the apparent similarities between the discursive worlds inhabited by unconvicted adolescents and convicted offenders, this study provides a theoretical platform for further research on the subtle and intriguing overlap.
    • Young white British men and knife-carrying in public

      Palasinski, Marek; Riggs, Damien; University of Derby (Springer, 2012-07-06)
      Whilst quantitative research to date gives us some indication of the prevalence at which knife-carrying occurs among young British men, there have been few explanations for why it occurs, and for what the relationship might be between broader social issues of control and power and the behaviours of young men themselves. Drawing on interviews with 16 young white British men, the present paper explores the ways in which the sample accounted for knife-carrying. Two interpretative repertoires were identified: (1) attributions of blame to authorities for a lack of protection and a subsequent justification of knife-carrying, and (2) discussions of masculinity in relation to knife-carrying. The findings suggest that what is required are policy and practice responses that take into account the symbolic functions of knives for young white men, and which recognise the dilemmatic bind that such men are caught in when they attempt to negotiate competing demands of protection and control.